Sunday, June 08, 2014

Beaches: What does one really need?

As I mentioned in my last post, my friend Ashley, a Florida native, has helped me par down what I really need to bring to the beach.  For a long time I thought I had to bring everything and the kitchen sink.  Ashley laughed at me and said, "No, you only need sunscreen, a towel, and maybe water."  That's it.  And really, once I started thinking about it, I grew up going to a was a lake, but it had a beach and we went there almost everyday of the summer when I was growing up in Mpls, MN.  In looking back, I only ever brought a towel. 

I told Ashley I had some requests about what to bring and she agreed with does depend a little bit on how long you're going to go to the beach.  I've broken down the lists into three:  The Two-Hour Trip; The Six-Hour Trip, and The All-Day Extravaganza.

The Two-Hour Trip

-One towel per person
-One water bottle per person

That's it.  Nothing more.  One bag.

The Six-Hour Trip

-One towel per person
-One-two water bottles per person
-One-two snacks per person unless you want to purchase a snack from a "snack shack"
-Sand toys
-One beach chair per adult if desired
-Umbrella or tent is desired
-Blanket or sheet

This list comes from our six-hour trip a week ago.  Ashley and I brought a whole lot more than our two-hour trip, but we used everything we brought.  She had the umbrella, I had the beach tent.  We each had babies that slept during some part of the day and having that space was great.  I could have just used her space under her umbrella if I hadn't had my tent, but having our own space was good too.  Our girls are water-babies, so the sand toys get used a little bit, but overall they just wanted to be in the water.

We took the above picture that day mainly because all of our bags are "31" bags and we wanted to send the picture to our friend, who is a 31 consultant.  However, it does illustrate what we brought that day.  I had one of the big bags, plus a larger thermal bag.  Ashley brought two bags, plus her thermal.  It should be noted that Ashley has two little ones, and I only have one.  We don't have the umbrella or tent in this picture, but they didn't take up a lot of space and we got everything in one trip.  I think that is key...bring it all in one trip and pack concisely.

The All-Day Extravaganza

-One towel per person
-One-two water bottles per person and/or a jug of water
-One-two snacks per person unless you want to purchase a snack from a "snack shack"
-Lunches for each person
-Sand toys
-One beach chair per adult if desired
-Umbrella or tent is desired
-Blanket or sheet

We haven't done a trip like this yet, but this is my future list.  We'll be adding boogie boards, goggles, and a flotation device for all of our future trips (I'm also adding two adolescents to my group), but really, they aren't absolutely necessary to have fun.  And again, with the addition of two boys, I also had two more sets of hands to carry stuff. 

Things to have in the car:
-extra diapers
-baby powder

That's it.  Have fun!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Favorite Moments From This Week

Beach Time

We went to the beach!  A lot!  I have a friend who is originally from Florida and she has taught me how to make going to the beach less of a hassle than I thought it would be.  We had a blast!  N really took to walking in the water and loves to feel the sand.  On the second day she slept through half of our time there, but that was fine.  It was still an amazingly relaxing day.

Memorial Day

Monday was a "chill out" day for us.  Our beach days wore us out, plus Mama had to do some serious laundry.  We had some good outside time though.  N is exploring more and more and getting more comfortable walking on the uneven grass.  She cracked me up when she pushed the mower up our little hill and plopped down for a little break.  

Big News!

N said her first serious words!  She repeated "Pop! Pop! Pop!" after I read it from a book.  She also says "Mama" definitively.  But the cutest thing is when she takes any object and holds it up to her ear, like a phone, and says "Hi" in this soft voice.  I LOVE it!   

Friday, May 23, 2014


 We decided to sign N up for "Mommy and Me" swim lessons.  I stood in line, with a number, for two hours to get us in.  That is life on a base where one in five women is pregnant, which means there are an abundance of babies all of the time.  We met for eight sessions.  The first day was chilly and every child cried the entire thirty minutes.  But, by the end, N was doing a great job of letting me float her on her back--she'd whine, but she'd do it.  We have lots of water time in our future, so it was tons of fun.

 It was warm enough for a beach day!  Yay!  We joined a couple of friends for some fun in the sand.  Yes she put the sand in her mouth.  Such is life.
 Easter egg hunt at church.  We didn't really hunt, but N had fun playing with them ahead of time.
 Wonder what she is thinking here?

 We got a little pool for N.  She wasn't too sure what to do with it.  Thankfully bath toys helped her at least enjoy it.
 I love this toy.  I also love that N figured out how to empty it quickly and efficiently. 

  Daddy made N a blanket tent.  I'm sure it is the first of many.

Checking out Daddy's boots. 

This is a quick round-up of the month.  I have some great shots of Easter weekend that I hope to share later.


 We set-up a system for baby-proofing our sliding doors so they can stay open, but N won't tear through them.  The tension rod works great and seems to be a ballet bar for N much of the time. 
 My favorite Saturday mornings are when we sleep in a little and there is time to enjoy our coffee. 
 Occasionally N goes on a sleep-strike and won't go to bed.  We try to be stern, but right now that's difficult when that little grin shows itself.

 I wondered how long it would take her to try to crawl under our dresser.  Surprisingly it took quite awhile.  She made it all the way through with the goal of reaching the door-stop. 
 I fully blame this activity cube for initiating N's desire to pull herself up and then to begin cruising.  It was the first thing she used to pull herself up the day after Christmas.  Stinker.

 This is just a favorite picture of mine.  Love these two!  Love chilled out Saturday mornings.

 We had a date night!  We checked out Koukosai Street in downtown Naha.  We've been there before, but never for dinner or drinks.  We chose a "hole-in-the-wall" soba shop--it was delicious!  You know you've hit a local spot when they don't have English menus and the cook walks outside to the display for you to point to your choice.  After dinner we checked out the above cafĂ© and bar.  Again, delightful!
 Figuring out how to handle bouncy houses.  She's a quick learner.

 The Zoo!  N loved it.  It's a small zoo, but totally worth 500 yen and a couple hours of fun.  The petting area was N's favorite.  We were a little scared for the lives of the chicks.  She kept bringing them up to her mouth. 

 We had a really warm day and so we took our borrowed turtle out for a stroll.  N had mastered pushing it around the house.  The outside terrain was different, but she had fun.  Her Daddy has taught her to eat dandelions--fantastic. 

 She played under this table for thirty minutes.  Awesome!

Can we go outside?
I am no longer young.  I earned this number while playing sand volleyball on a girls day at White Beach.  First of all, ouch.  Secondly, when I went to serve overhand I realized that I hadn't coached in ten years and my muscle memory was gone.  I made it over every time, but man, it took some warming up!

February: Baby-Proofing

February was spent recovering from our trip back to the states.  They say it takes about a day for every hour difference you travel.  I believe it.  We finally got back on track, for the most part, but it took lots of time. 

February also meant doing some baby-proofing for our cruisin' girl.  N took off and was QUICK to get around the kitchen using the cabinets as support.  I really couldn't believe how fast she became in such a short amount of time.  She continually tried new foods every week.  Corn and cooked carrots were a favorite. 

February in Okinawa is bi-polar weather-wise.  We had some gorgeous days where we tried out her swing on our porch--she wasn't a fan.  We also had some chilly, rainy days where we just hung out indoors.